Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Process Blogfest!!

I have been looking forward to this blogfest started over at: http://shalleemcarthur.blogspot.com/

We all have a different personalized processes we go through when writing. What's your process?

To look at the LARGE picture, I could feel overwhelmed and just never even start, but luckily for me, I chose to start with an easy to read book on the craft of writing.

Now... after a couple of years of working hard at this writing thing, I have to say this is not the BEST book on the topic of writing (no offense Janet, you are still one of my favorite authors, and I still refer back to your book!); however, this book was exactly what I needed to get started. Janet Evanovich's no-nonsense approach to writing is easy to follow, and I used it as a guide to map out my first ms. She talks about timelines and character sketches and how to prepare these items before you begin writing.

So, for my first ms, I did simple sketches of both the plot and the characters. For the actual writing, I went by the seat of my pants. Some of it worked, some of it didn't.

Before writing my second ms, I wrote the query letter first. This was a great tip I picked up from someone's blog along the writerly path. After struggling so much with the query letter for my first ms, I realized the significance of the process. If you can't write a query - - it could be because something is wrong with your plot, or your characters.

I highly recommend this thought process. Before starting your next ms, I challenge you to write the query letter first.

Main Character.
What life altering event happens to her?
What decision does she make?
What will happen if she makes the wrong decision?
Then what happens?
Then what?

Simplified version of course, but I've already used this process for four other book ideas that are brewing in my head.

Where do you start in the writing process? Do you outline every chapter? Do you write by the seat of your pants? Have you ever written your query letter FIRST? Share!


  1. I read Janet's book early on in my writing path too... it was great for motivation and reality. But it's not instructional on the actual craft.

    I've never written a query first, but the last 2 mss I wrote, I wrote the logline first (advice from my friend Lydia Sharp over at the Sharp angle) and it's been such a great way to keep the story in check. But your method in writing the query components first, is similar... it's the bones... the guide that keeps your story in check.

    This was a great idea for a blogfest. SO interesting to see. BTW there will be a Dear Teen Me blogfest up and coming... so stay tuned!

  2. Hi Margo, great post! So interesting to see how everyone else goes about their process.

    I really like the idea about writing the query first. I think I'll try that next time. Not too much plotting but a good foundation.

    Good luck with the agent search.

  3. Hi,

    I've met others' who recommend writing the query first! Great, if you've got a basic outline of plot in your head. I never have, my inspiration comes by way of artwork and a rather odd way in which characters come to life. ;)


  4. I write a query and logline very early in my first draft, too. It really is a fabulous way to tighten down what the main plot is-- and stay focused on it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have never written a query letter, let alone written one first- my stories tend to be short stories, but the questions might still apply to it. :)

  6. I haven't ever written my query letter first, well at least not down in writing. I do think about my query letter in my head and revise it as I go. I'll have to try and put it down on paper before I start my next ms. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I wrote my query for my latest WIP after I finished the first draft. I've found it really helpful and will probably do that for all of my projects.

  8. I find writing what I need to produce an effective query very useful in keeping me focused. Great tip. Queries are hard.

  9. Interesting idea to write the query letter first. I might have to try that.

  10. Didn't know about Janet's book. I could see how writnig the query letter would be helpful, but I've also seen people obsessing over it cause they don't know what their book is about. Sometimes you have to write the draft to find out...

  11. Great post. I had fun thinking this through.
    I wrote the logline and the query letter with the hook for the last book I wrote. I'm thinking writing the skeleton of the synopsis before starting wouldn't be a bad idea. I swear that is easier in the planning stage than when 50,000 words are all lined up before me.

  12. I like the idea of writing the query first. It's a good way to stay focussed.

  13. I too have heard about writing a Query letter first. But have not given it a try. Its supposed to be a wonderful way of staying focussed. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I read Stephen King's On Writing before I started writing, and there wasn't all that much about writing, but it was inspirational

  15. I'm a week late, but catching up on this blogfest now after I finally put my own entry up =)

    I write my queries first too! Of course, they change a lot over time, but I find it helps me focus.